Wednesday, March 30, 2011



About 1832 Samuel Lover the poet , painter and song writer of Dublin town published a compendium of Legends and Tales of Ireland he had amassed from boyhood.
One of these is the Devils Mill rememembered as a ruin of a mill under great trees on the waters edge of the River Liffy having since been surrounded by stone flood walls.

At the place of the old ruined mill he was approched by an old man with silver hair who asked him if he were there to,
'Takin' off the old mill'
meaning to distroyand tear down the ruin under the trees.
When he was told this was the fate he asked to see the drawing of it.[Lover was a painter],
and on seeing them he approved the images as valid of the water wheel and great grinding stone first laid by Himself.

Wanting to know who was 'Himself' Lover asked,
'And who was Himself ?'
'Are ye a stranger here?'. asked the silver hair.
'Almost'. replied Lover.

'Ye never heard of the Liffy Mill and how it was built?'
The old man was suprised thinking everyone rich and poor, young and old knew the tale and on this note, Lover brought out some lunch and a small flask of whiskey and asked the old timer to join him and tell him the story.

He offered a slice of ham and they drank to their health and the two sat on the sod beside the river stream.

He began by telling, In time back ,a man owned a great deal of land about here that he had not come by honestly but by a crooked turn and he 'sold the pass'.
Lover asked the meaning of this to as he had never heard how the pass was sold and Himself betrayed King and Country.

But as it was the landholder had got the power of money for the lands and what not but the more he got the more he craved and there was never an end to his striving for gold and lust for the Lucre of gain.

At last the Devil, God Bless Us, came to him and promised him heaps of money and all his heart could devise if Himself would sell his soul in exchange.
surely ,says Lover he did not make such a dreadful bargain.

'Oh no', says silver hair, he was too cunning for that and bad as he was he had regard for his poor sinful soul and would not give it up to the Devil.
But instead set out to make a bargain with the old chap and get what he wanted as well as stay out of harms way.

The bargain was struck in this a way.
The Devil would give him all the gold he ever wanted and let him alone as long as possible and the Tempter promised him a long day and it would be a great while before he'd want Himself at all ,at all and when this time came the Devil would keep his hands of him as long as the Lord can give him some work to do.

When the baragain was made, the Colonel Himself says,
'Give me all the gold I want.'
you must fill me that room that the Colonel had cleared out on purpose to be filled with golden guineas.

The Devil began to shovel in the guineas and the Colonel waited below in his own parlour downstairs.

Hundreds of thousands of Guineas were shoveled till the Devil got tired[tuirse] and he wondered why it took so long to fill the room.
Bad luck to me says the Devil at the working once more while when contemplating this he saw a heap of guineas in the middle of the floor pile getting littler and littler and disappearing like corn in a hopper of a mill.
'Is that the way with you', cries he ,and sees the gold running down through a hole in the floor to the Colonels room below.
Pretending to wait for the Devil. Not content with the 2 rooms of quineas but shoveling them into a closet as they fell down.

When the Colonel saw the Devil above who said,
'Hello neighbor',
he grew white as a sheet as he was found out by the red eye staring at him from above.

'You villian!', cried the Devil.' Bad Luck to you tring to cheat me.'

When the colonel asked forgiveness this once, the Devil says
'You theiving Rogue.'
'Im not angry with you at all ,at all but like you better.'

He said the Colonel had got enough for this time and only had to say the word when he wanted more and so they parted.

The Colonel went on prospering in the world and never wanted for money or profit and in the course of time brought great estates and was a great man in Ireland.

They say at last, after many year in prosperity, the old Colonel was struck with years and a misgiving of conscience and a fear of death over his wicked doings and while this was upon him ,the Devil came and said the Colonel shoud go with him.

The old Colonel joked that he was on his way to a party and asked the Devil would not inconvinence him.

The Devil said he would call next day and when he came in the evening, Himself reminded him of the old bargain that as long as he could give him work he could not do, he was not obliged to go.

Thats true says the Devil. 'I never break my word.'
'Honor Bright' says the Devil.

The Colonel then asked the old chap to build him a mill down by the river and have it finished by the morrow.
'My pleasure' says the old Nick.

Next morn the whole county round ran to see the brand new mill by the riverside where the evening before had been but rushes and one and all agreed the mill was not good and these the stone you are taking off laid by the Devil Himself.
The big coign stone with 4 fingers and thumb on it.

The Colonel was not troubled but thought up more ways to trick the Devil with some thing he coulde not do.

He charged him to make a rope out of sand of the sea.
Old Nick came and Colonel said he woulnd not like to go with the Devil alive and would the Devil please kill him.
'With pleasure' says old Nick.

The choise to the Colonel to die by hanging with a rope made from the sand of the sea.

'Always have one about me', says the Devil.

The Colonel grew white as a sheet and says thats not a sand rope and the Devil hit him in the face with the end of it and the sand went into one of the Colonels eyes with tears and pain.

'That beats all!' said the Colonel.
'will you give me one more offer.

'you dont deserve it'. says the Devil but he said he didnt care if he did and the Colonel asked him to stop a womans tongue.
The coloner asked that his wifes tongue should be stopped for a month and the Devil obliged.
'She'll never trouble you again', and in pops the Colonels daugher sayings he mother had just dropped dead.

The Colonel lost his 7 senses at this news.

The Colonel asked only to be left alone till he buried the poor wife.

The Devil left the old sinner off for 3 days and the wife buried.
But when the daughter had fainted the Colonel had opened her dress and took of a gold chain with a diamond cross and ,Lord be Praised!, the Devil did not dare take the old sinner while had the sign of the cross in his pocket.

The old Colonels wife was eligantly buried and prayers heard were taken to heart by him and the 'Word of God' came to his poor sinful soul at last.

For 3 days of grace that was given him the old Colonel did nothing but read the Bible from morn till night. Nor eat or drink did not pass his lips that whole time.

When the 3 days were past and in the dead hour of the night he got a tap on the shoulder.
'Its me' said old Nick with coal of fire in his eyes.

'Another day says the Colonel.'

'Not another hour.'

'1/2 hour.'

'Not a quarter.'

'A few minutes.'

'Leave off your palavering you sneaking old sinner', says Satan.
'You know you are bought and sold to me.'
'So come along at once.'

The Devil put out his claw but the old Colonel fast held the Bible and begged to be let alone till the flicker of candle in the socket was burned out.

'Have it so.' And old Nick spit on his sinner.

But the old Colonel not to be outdone, snatched up the flickering candle, put it in the Holy Book and quenched the light.

The Devil gave a roar and vanished in a flash and the Colonel fainted away in his chair.

The servants heard the noise as the Devil tore off the roof as he left the house and they brought the Master round again.

From that day on, he was an altered man and had the Bible read him every day as he no longe had his sight, for the Devil hit him with the rope of sand and his spit .

So the Silver haired Cronicler ended his tale beside the Liffy as the Colonel was too able for the Devil and with the good Book was Saved,
Glory be to God!

presented by
Judi Donnelly
copyright March 29 2011

sourse: Legends and Tales of Ireland, Samuel Lover, RHA , Simkin, Marshall, Hamilton, Kent and Co, London
Glascow ,Thomas D ,Morison publication, undated

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